Ligaments – do you really need them?

It turns out the answer is no.

I finally gave in and made a physical therapy appointment. It was today at noon. I was told to dress in loose, comfortable clothing. Naturally I wore black skinny pants to work and changed into my running shoes before I made the long trek to the building next-door to my office.

I 100% expected them to dismiss my concerns the way the doctor did. Instead, my concerns were validated. We talked about my injury, past injuries (lots involving my poor ankles), medical history and current exercise routines. Then he examined my ankles.

Immediately, he asked if I’m double-jointed. I said no, but when he asked if I could bend my thumb down to touch my forearm, I succeeded. Well, that’s something I didn’t know I could do. But I failed all his other tests – turns out I’m just really flexible (something I already knew – hence the long cheerleading career) and my ankles are shot (we knew this too). So shot, that they bend and rotate in ways that suggest I am missing entire ligaments, and probably have been for quite some time. Ligaments keep bones where they should be, but my ankle ligaments that are still left aren’t doing much.

Anyway – back to my current injury. It was a pretty bad high ankle sprain to the anterior tibiofibular ligament – likely a grade II. Even though it was 5½ weeks ago, the swelling is still significant and the pain is miserable. He thinks that if I were to get an X-ray, it would show my tibia and fibula are separated rather than overlapping each other because the ligament that keeps them overlapping is the one that’s torn.

Bad news for the 5K in 2½ weeks, right? No! He says because I’ve been running and working out despite the pain, I can’t really make it worse unless I sprain it again. So I’m allowed to keep running and working out, but I absolutely have to ice every night and after every run/workout. And, the least fun part – I have to go to physical therapy for the next five weeks. Fortunately only once a week, but still not what I was hoping for. We’ll work on strengthening everything from my hips down, so that my muscles can make up for the work my ligaments can no longer do.

On a positive note, I’ve raised $611 toward my $1,000 goal.


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